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Israel Maintains Positive Image in U.S.

Israel Maintains Positive Image in U.S.

Chart: data points are described in article

Story Highlights

  • Just over seven in 10 Americans have a favorable opinion of Israel
  • About one in four view Israel unfavorably
  • Netanyahu's ratings tilt positive, 49% to 30%

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Donald Trump meet in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, 71% of Americans have a favorable view of Israel and 27% an unfavorable view. That represents the fourth straight year that Israel's favorable rating has been 70% or higher.

Americans' Overall Views of Israel, 1989-2017

From 2005 through 2012, Israel's favorable score varied between 63% and 71%, but with most readings below 70%. Before that, it was more volatile, surging to 79% during the 1991 Gulf War but registering below 60% at times in 1989, 1991, 1992, 2000, 2002 and 2004.

Gallup asks Americans to give their impression of Israel and numerous other countries each year as part of its annual February World Affairs survey. This year's survey was conducted Feb. 1-5 and found 29% viewing Israel very favorably, 42% mostly favorably, 21% mostly unfavorably and 6% very unfavorably. Just 8% have no opinion of the Jewish state.

Israel enjoys a positive image among all major U.S. demographic and political groups, but scores particularly well with Republicans (81% view it favorably) and adults 65 and older (77%). While a majority of Democrats view Israel favorably, the 61% doing so is the lowest of any major subgroup.

Americans' Overall Opinions of Israel
  Total favorable Total unfavorable
  % %
U.S. adults 71 27
Republicans 81 18
Independents 70 27
Democrats 61 36
Men 73 26
Women 69 29
18 to 29 63 33
30 to 49 70 29
50 to 64 72 26
65 and older 77 21
Postgraduate 71 27
College graduate only 72 25
Some college 69 27
No college 70 27
Gallup, Feb. 1-5, 2017


Netanyahu's Image Generally Positive

Although Netanyahu himself receives more positive than negative reviews from Americans, his 49% favorable rating from U.S. adults is significantly lower than the rating of the country he governs. Another 30% view him unfavorably, while 21% -- higher than the 8% for Israel -- have no opinion of him.

Seventy-three percent of Republicans view Netanyahu favorably and only 11% unfavorably. At the same time, he sparks net-negative reviews from Democrats -- 32% favorable and 41% unfavorable -- a pattern that emerged after Netanyahu took on President Barack Obama's nuclear deal with Iran in 2015.

Netanyahu's image is also slightly negative among adults aged 18 to 29, but that may be partly attributable to their greater unfamiliarity with him.


Americans' Overall Opinion of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
  Favorable Unfavorable No opinion
  % % %
U.S. adults 49 30 21
Republicans 73 11 16
Independents 43 36 22
Democrats 32 41 26
Men 50 32 18
Women 48 28 25
18 to 29 26 32 41
30 to 49 51 27 21
50 to 64 56 29 14
65+ 58 33 9
Postgraduate 45 48 6
College graduate only 49 36 15
Some college 53 26 21
No college 47 23 30
No opinion includes % never heard of
Gallup, Feb. 1-5, 2017


Bottom Line

Israel is broadly liked in the U.S., with a favorable rating hovering near 70% in recent years. At 49%, Netanyahu's U.S. favorable rating falls well short of this but is net positive. Meanwhile, Trump is struggling with low job approval ratings, including an especially weak rating on foreign affairs. Wednesday's meeting with Netanyahu thus presents an opportunity for Trump to boost those ratings by engaging in friendly diplomacy.

While Americans sympathize more with the Israelis than the Palestinians in the regional dispute, they have long considered the conflict a threat to U.S. interests. Given this, Trump could also benefit in Americans' eyes if he is seen actively working toward a solution -- what he has called the "ultimate deal."

Historical data are available in Gallup Analytics.

Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Feb. 1-5, 2017, with a random sample of 1,035 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.

Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 70% cellphone respondents and 30% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods.

View survey methodology, complete question responses and trends.

Learn more about how the Gallup Poll Social Series works.

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